‘Louise’ – Getting life-long support

How Louise got cerebral palsy

Any injury from a car accident is regrettable, whether it is major or minor.

Yet few injuries are as unfortunate as those that involve children.

One Wednesday, over ten years ago, a young woman named ‘Claire’ had a road traffic accident. A front-seat passenger at the time, Claire was 26 weeks pregnant whilst the driver was the father-to-be.

At first, Claire thought she’d escaped serious injury, but soon realised that her seatbelt had caused serious bruising to her stomach.

She went to hospital in a state of upset and alarm. She was in pain, concerned by some bleeding, and worried about the lack of movement felt in her womb.

Whilst in the hospital, Claire underwent exhaustive tests to make sure that her unborn child had not suffered any damage from the accident. All seemed well, and as both parents breathed a sigh of relief, the doctors discharged Claire from hospital a day later.

Unfortunately, Claire’s discomfort persisted. She complained about these problems to her GP, who arranged an appointment with her midwife the following week. Unfortunately, the appointment would never take place.

Less than two weeks after the car accident, Claire went into labour prematurely. Something wasn’t right. Her baby was either lying as a breech (feet first) or transversely high in the uterus (sideways), so Claire underwent an emergency Caesarean section.

The arrival of a newborn is usually amongst the happiest of times in anyone’s life, and Claire and her partner were elated to welcome baby ‘Louise’ into the world. But, as time went on, Claire had concerns about her baby’s health.

Baby Louise had significant brain damage, her diagnosis later confirmed as cerebral palsy. She will have to live the rest of her life with the condition, unable to experience the life that many a healthy child may lead, and never grow up as an independent adult.

A child with severe brain damage—and the family—need help to live as high a quality of life as possible. Thankfully, they contacted our team of expert serious injury lawyers, and we helped them make a claim.

How we helped Louise

We at Serious Injury Law have encountered many of the most heart-breaking tragedies that any family may experience. We understand the strain such traumatic injuries put families under, so it is important for us to do as much as possible to lessen the burden.

There can be few injuries as upsetting for a family as those suffered by a defenceless child, so once Claire instructed us, we set to work armed with the experience to deliver everything possible to help Louise.

Our role in helping Louise went beyond securing her compensation. Whilst that’s an important part of the process, we believe in our responsibility to improve the situation of all of our clients by providing the support needed for the rest of their lives.

At the time, Louise had her whole life in front of her, and with severe cerebral palsy, we recognised that she would need ongoing support through care, assistive aids, appliances, as well as our help to guide both Louise and her family through the forthcoming years.

Fully aware that the life expectancy for children with cerebral palsy is very often underestimated (correlating with information freely available in published professorial papers), our lawyers assessed exactly how much assistance Louise needed, and for how long.

Treatment and therapy would be a vital aspect for Louise’s capacity for living with her condition; physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, and finally, home learning were all identified as essential proponents for her welfare.

Through our experience, we knew that by putting a greater level of care and therapy in place for Louise, we’d give her the opportunity for a longer and more comfortable life.

By securing interim payments from the defendant’s insurers, we were able to put in place this supporting structure for Louise and her family, laying solid foundations for when her legal proceedings finished.

Despite there being no question of the defendant’s blame for the accident, Louise’s case was still complex. The main issue faced related to causation, which means proving on the balance of probability that both the negligence of the father and the car accident itself caused Louise’s cerebral palsy.

By constructing an argument that consisted of evidence from diverse and reputable medical fields including a neurologist, a neonatologist, a neuroradiologist, a consultant paediatric gynaecologist, as well as care and housing experts, we were able to secure the right outcome.

Louise received a very substantial seven-figure compensation award through negotiation outside of court. We helped to set up Louise’s Personal Injury Trust, into which the family invested Louise’s compensation to accumulate interest, whilst the Court of Protection appointed our professional deputy, Tim Walters, to manage Louise’s funds in her best interest— a process that continues to this day.

Find out how we can help you or someone you care for after cerebral palsy—please contact us today.

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